The Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs

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The Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is the most sought after graduate degree among U.S. college students. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), roughly 190,000 MBAs were conferred in 2013-14 academic year — more than 25% of all master’s degrees awarded during that academic year. MBA programs follow a multidisciplinary curriculum that draws on various elements of contemporary business leadership. However, MBA earners often earn a degree specialization by focusing their studies on a niche area of the administration field.

According to the BLS, the average human resources manager earns over $100,000 per year.

Human resources is one of the most popular specialization areas among MBA students. Human resources (or HR) concentrates on the relationships between employers, managers, employees and their work environments. HR professionals work to ensure that all personnel at their company or organization are safe, treated with respect, fairly compensated and satisfied with their work. They also handle tasks and oversee projects related to recruitment, interviewing and hiring, orientation and training. Human resources departments can be found throughout the workforce in private companies, nonprofits and government agencies. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their MBA in human resources online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities after graduation. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and study-from-home format are also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other responsibilities that stand to interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online MBA in human resources and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

Will an Online MBA in Human Resources Program Provide Me With the Skills I Need to Advance My Career?

An MBA in human resources is designed for students with both educational and professional backgrounds in business administration. The MBA in HR curriculum is designed to build on foundational business administration topics while also introducing more complex theories and methods. Key topics of discussion in an HR program include business ethics and law, organizational leadership, operations management and financial analysis. Many online human resources MBA programs culminate in a capstone course, which allows students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have gained with a comprehensive research project.

Will an Online MBA in Human Resources Program Work With My Schedule?

MBA online programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional classroom education. Students are able to download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors from their home computer. Current technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices.

What Jobs Can I Get With My MBA in Human Resources?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most HR roles are attainable for candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Those who earn an MBA in human resources will be well-positioned to compete in the job market for top positions. Some of the most common career pathways include HR generalists, specialists and managers, as well as personnel that oversee training and development or compensation and benefits.

What Are the Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online MBA in human resources programs in the United States. If you are considering an online MBA in HR, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1 Webster University RANKING SCORE 72.63 COST LOCATION Saint Louis, MO

Located in St. Louis, Webster provides an education that prepares students to lead successful careers in a globalized world. Webster offers an online learning environment that excels in providing students with quality education complete with enriching experiences led by experts. The school’s online MBA in human resources is no exception. The program prepares students to enter the business world with a broad skill set as well as an in-depth understanding of human resource management. The degree is comprised of 49 credit hours, and students take classes that focus on training as well as research. Core classes cover staffing, employment law, compensation, integrated studies in human resource management. The MBA degree reflects Webster’s mission to motivate students to reach their potential for excellence in a global society.

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2 Brandman University RANKING SCORE 71.32 COST LOCATION Irvine, CA

Brandman is part of the Chapman University System, located in Orange, California. The school specializes in serving adult students and emphasizes quality, flexible, and accessible online education. The online human resources MBA from Brandman prepares students to pursue a variety of career paths. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree, and either have graduated with a 3.0 GPA or better, or a 2.50 GPA and qualifying GRE test scores. The program consists of 36 core hours and 12 hours in human resources. Students with previous business or education experience may qualify for course waivers that reduce the number of required core hours. The MBA degree emphasizes training and development and focuses on critical areas of business, including wage and salary administration and evaluation systems. An award-winning education from Brandman will prepare graduates of the program to engage and succeed in the fast-paced, evolving global business world.

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3 Montclair State University RANKING SCORE 68.14 COST LOCATION Montclair, NJ

Located in Montclair, New Jersey, Montclair State University offers a flexible MBA online degree through its master of business administration with a human resources management concentration. The university’s Feliciano School of Business receives accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, awarded to less than 5% of business schools worldwide.

Students can complete the 39-credit fully online MBA degree in 2-3 years. The asynchronous program offers six start dates throughout the year, providing exceptional flexibility and convenience to busy students. Delivered through Canvas learning management system, the program builds on a solid core of business courses including managing a global workforce, talent management, and human resource analytics. MSU Online accepts up to six transfer credits from students with prior experience.

Montclair State University receives regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Feliciano School of Business also receives specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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4 Golden Gate University - San Francisco RANKING SCORE 67.96 COST LOCATION San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate University, based in San Francisco since 1901, specializes in flexibly accommodating busy working professionals. Options include a master of business administration in human resource management, offered by GGU’s Ageno School of Business. Applicants with a bachelor's degree and more than five years of professional experience do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores for acceptance into the online MBA.

The 54-unit program delivers an activity-based curriculum from a holistic management perspective. Students complete 42 units of foundation and core courses, 12 of them specific to the human resources management concentration. All students must complete a course in strategic human resource management. They may select two additional electives from topics including managing people in international settings, compensation and administration, and training and development.

Golden Gate University receives its regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

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5 Johnson & Wales University RANKING SCORE 67.73 COST LOCATION Providence, RI

Founded in 1914 in Providence, Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University offers a master of business administration – human resource management for prospective recruiters, trainers, and managers within the global economy and workforce. The online MBA takes an experiential and work-integrated approach to the learning process.

JWU ensures that graduates of the MBA online degree possess advanced knowledge of the ethical conduct, legal requirements, and social responsibilities needed for enduring success in business. Applicants with a GPA of at least 2.85 do not need to submit GMAT scores. Students can complete the 54-credit program in as little as 18 months over four 11-week terms. The program concludes with an interdisciplinary capstone course on business policy and strategy.

Johnson & Wales University receives its regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

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6 Nova Southeastern University RANKING SCORE 67.37 COST LOCATION Fort Lauderdale, FL

Founded in 1964 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU offers more than a dozen concentration options for students seeking an MBA degree online, including the master of business administration in human resource management. A signature of all MBAs at NSU, the degree emphasizes entrepreneurship throughout the course of study.

Students can complete the 39-credit online MBA degree in as few as 21 months, through flexible study over five terms throughout the year. Transfer students may apply up to six graduate-level credits. Applicants with a GPA of 2.5 or higher do not need to submit GMAT scores. Course topics include talent management and managing total rewards. A three-credit internship rounds out the program.

The private, nonprofit Nova Southeastern University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. NSU’s Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship receives additional accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

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7 Liberty University RANKING SCORE 66.06 COST LOCATION Lynchburg, VA

Founded in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1971, LU’s combined residential and online enrollment tops 110,000 students, making it the largest private, nonprofit university in the U.S. Students considering an MBA online degree at Liberty University can choose from 16 different cognates or emphases, including the MBA with a human resources cognate.

Online students can access online tutorials and tech support through LU's online learning system. Of the 45-credit program, students may transfer up to 50% of the total credit requirement. Applicants can estimate how many credits they can transfer using LU's transferable credit hour calculator. To earn the MBA degree online, students must earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher by the completion of the program.

Liberty University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The business school receives additional accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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8 Excelsior College RANKING SCORE 65.95 COST LOCATION Albany, NY

Founded in 1971 in Albany, New York, Excelsior College caters to working professionals at all stages of their career, through flexible, affordable programs. Excelsior offers both a basic 36-credit MBA program and a 45-credit MBA in nine concentrations, including the master of business administration in human resources management.

Consistent in its mission to flexibly accommodate working students, Excelsior favors prior learning and self-paced study. Transfer students can take advantage of generous credit transfer and/or waiver arrangements, and may take up to 10 years to complete the program. Learners complete courses in topics including change management, and the principles and practices of performance improvement across 15-week trimester terms.

Excelsior College receives regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Business programs also receive specific accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

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9 University of Illinois at Springfield RANKING SCORE 65.92 COST LOCATION Springfield, IL

The University of Illinois – Springfield prioritizes flexibility within its online offerings, including the online MBA degree with a specialization in human resources management. Students in the 36-credit MBA with a human resources management certificate earn a certificate alongside the degree, with no additional coursework required.

Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA for admission into the program, and maintain it for the duration of the degree. Courses specific to the human resources management program include acquiring and developing talent, performance management, and strategic human resources management. All MBA students must complete a graduate closure course in business strategy. Applicants enjoy rolling application deadlines. Students complete asynchronous classes online in a standard semester format.

The University of Illinois – Springfield receives regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The business school receives accreditation from The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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10 University of St Francis RANKING SCORE 65.90 COST LOCATION Joliet, IL

St. Francis offers a premier education in the Catholic tradition. The online human resources MBA program reflects the values of the school, and St. Francis’s program is guided by compassion and peacemaking. The online business education program at the school was established 15 years ago, and the college has been ranked as one of the best online education providers for 11 consecutive years. The MBA degree program provides students with a flexible learning format that emphasizes skills in leadership and analytical thinking. The developers of the program curriculum recognize that students will embark on careers in a global society, and the degree provides them with a strong foundation for advancement in the competitive world of business. To complete the human resources concentration, students must pass four HR classes; most distance learners are able to graduate within 12-18 months.

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11 Temple University RANKING SCORE 65.61 COST LOCATION Philadelphia, PA

The Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offers a uniquely flexible option among the nation's best online MBA programs. Building on its business training programs since 1918, Temple offers its online MBA in human resource management as just one of 14 concentrations, also including travel and tourism, and sport business.

Students enrolled in the 48-credit program can earn the degree in as little as 20 months, or take up to six years to complete required coursework. While the program can be completed almost entirely online, new students must participate in a one-week residency, prior to starting classes, at the campus in Philadelphia. The program, comprised of five-week courses, concludes with a three-credit capstone/practicum in enterprise consulting.

Temple University receives regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Fox School of Business also receives specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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12 Bryan College - Dayton RANKING SCORE 64.98 COST LOCATION Dayton, TN

Originally chartered as William Jennings Bryan University in 1930, this private Christian college specializing in liberal arts programs changed its name to Bryan College in 1993. Among five business administration specializations, Bryan’s online MBA in human resources offers a flexible alternative to a traditional program for students seeking an online MBA degree.

Students can complete the 36-credit accelerated program in as little as 18 months by taking two courses during each nine-week term. Among the school's signatures, a course in biblical/worldview principles of management sets the tone for the rest of the degree. The program culminates in a three-credit seminar in human resources management, in which the student conducts in-depth research into a topic of their choice in HR management. Students with prior experience may transfer up to 12 credits.

Bryan College receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Business programs receive additional accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

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13 University of Houston - Clear Lake RANKING SCORE 63.08 COST LOCATION Houston, TX

The University of Houston – Clear Lake, located 30 minutes southeast of downtown Houston, opened in 1974 as the transfer-friendly branch of UH. UHCL offers its online MBA in human resource management to students seeking an affordable and accelerated online MBA degree.

Though similar in content, the completion time of the online program sets it apart from its on-campus equivalent. UHCL delivers the online program in eight-week terms, allowing students to complete their course of study in as little as 14 months. Students explore topics including the legal environment of human resource management, and employee planning, staffing, and selection. A three-credit elective course and capstone in strategic management round out the degree.

The University of Houston – Clear Lake receives regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Business programs also receive specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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14 University of Mary RANKING SCORE 62.88 COST LOCATION Bismarck, ND

Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, the University of Mary operates 12 branch campuses throughout the U.S. and in Rome, Italy, and Peru. The private Catholic university offers a flexible online MBA in human resources management for students seeking a program that stresses Benedictine values.

Priced at $15,000, the MBA online degree counts itself among the most affordable, nationwide. The 39-credit program follows a flexible schedule, allowing students to complete all coursework in as few as 18 months. Most classes repeat every five weeks. Students begin foundation work toward their capstone project during the beginning of the program; the capstone representing the synthesis of student work throughout the degree.

The University of Mary receives accreditation from Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Business programs also receive accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

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15 Central Michigan University RANKING SCORE 60.88 COST LOCATION Mount Pleasant, MI

Located in Mount Pleasant, CMU is home to more than 20,000 students. CMU’s online human resources MBA emphasizes social responsibility, compassion, and inclusion. The MBA degree includes 27 core hours and nine hours in the human resource management concentration, and the program is grounded in the foundational skills successful business leaders need, including accounting, finance, and management. Applicants must have a 2.70 undergraduate GPA or better and a GMAT score exceeding 450; prospective students do not need to submit GMAT scores if they earned a 3.25 GPA or better in their bachelor’s program. Applicants should also be well-versed in economics, statistics, finance, and accounting. The program emphasizes a global perspective and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

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16 Concordia University - Wisconsin RANKING SCORE 59.76 COST LOCATION Mequon, WI

Concordia University-Wisconsin is a Lutheran college founded in 1881. The school’s educational mission is influenced by its Christian tradition, and imbues students with the importance of integrity, service, and faith. The MBA in human resources online is designed for working professionals looking to balance school with their other obligations and responsibilities. At Concordia, every online student has access to an online student success advisor and several online resources for educational success. The MBA degree consists of 24 business foundation credits and 15 human resource management credits, and prepares students for successful careers in business management and leadership. Classes cover compensation, benefits, risk management theory, and much more. As part of the program, Concordia strives to help students become better communicators; most distance learners leave school with significantly improved written and verbal communication skills and are prepared to work in a variety of professional environments.

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17 University of Houston - Victoria RANKING SCORE 59.30 COST LOCATION Victoria, TX

The University of Houston – Victoria's unique online MBA degree imparts an international perspective within a “global-savvy context.” UHV designed its online MBA in human resources management to meet the needs of students aspiring to leadership careers in international business.

A student's credit load depends on their background and previous education. Students entering the program with a BBA may earn the degree in as few as 30 credits, completed in as little as 18 months. Students without a bachelor’s degree in business must complete a 54-credit program. Courses include international marketing, international operations management, and management of diversity in organizations. A capstone course in international business strategy concludes the degree.

The University of Houston – Victoria receives regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Business programs also receive specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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18 Trevecca Nazarene University RANKING SCORE 58.86 COST LOCATION Nashville, TN

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Trevecca Nazarene University cultivates community among its online students through a cohort model of instruction. The private, Christian liberal arts university offers an online MBA in human resources with no GMAT requirement, ideal for students working full-time. Trevecca's cohort system allows students to interact with the same group of peers throughout the entire program, also incorporating professional mentoring to build camaraderie.

Students progress through the 36-credit program one class at a time, typically completing the degree in 24 months. Courses include business ethics and organizational cultural development, global and economic environment, and staffing and development. Trevecca accommodates students with previous experience through a flexible credit-transfer policy.

Trevecca Nazarene University receives its regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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19 Endicott College RANKING SCORE 58.69 COST LOCATION Beverly, MA

From its oceanside campus 20 miles north of Boston in Beverly, Massachusetts, Endicott College offers a flexible online MBA in human resources management. The program does not require submission of GMAT scores for admission.

Students may complete the 42-credit degree in as little as 18 months. Endicott allows students to pursue two concentrations simultaneously, which extends the completion time. Students will complete courses such as human resources in transition, organizational and individual development, and human resource laws and compliance within the human resources management concentration. Endicott provides online access to support services including tutoring, career advising, resume support, and a writing center. Students and alums can access Endicott’s signature job search tool, ECLaunch, to pursue employment immediately after graduation.

Endicott College receives regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education.

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20 Mercer University RANKING SCORE 58.17 COST LOCATION Macon, GA

Mercer University, the oldest private university in Georgia, serves residential and online students from its main campus in Macon. The Stetson School of Business and Economics offers an online MBA in human resources for students seeking a program with plenty of personalized attention, thanks to low student-teacher ratios.

Students with an undergraduate business background can complete the program in as little as 18 months. Those without an undergraduate business degree must complete nine additional foundations credits. The curriculum follows a flexible, self-paced format. All students must complete a three-credit capstone course in their field of interest to conclude the degree.

Mercer University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics receives specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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21 University of North Texas RANKING SCORE 58.16 COST LOCATION Denton, TX

The University of North Texas is located in Denton, and was founded in 1890 as a teacher’s training school. Since then, it has blossomed into a major research institution with 12 schools and global partnerships around the world, including visiting scholars from over 50 countries. UNT’s MBA in human resources online can be completed in as few as 14 months and consists of 36 credit hours. Students have the option of starting the program in January, March, June, August, and October. Distance learners are encouraged to take classes at their own pace; students who want to study full-time may be interested in UNT’s accelerated track, which allows them to graduate in just over a year. The MBA program prepares students to excel as managers and marketplace leaders and was ranked as one of the top online programs by U.S. News and World Report.

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22 Baker University RANKING SCORE 57.61 COST LOCATION Baldwin City, KS

From its historic campus in Baldwin City, Kansas, Baker University claims rank as the first and oldest university in the state. Its online MBA in human resources provides a flexible course of study for working students.

Applicants to the online MBA do not need to submit GMAT scores, though they must complete at least one year of full-time work experience in addition to their bachelor’s degree. Students can complete the 39-credit program in as few as 22 months or as many as six years, depending on their schedule. Courses include innovative business thinking and global human resources. Students complete classes through Moodle online learning management system. Students must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate.

Baker University receives regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Baker’s business programs receive additional accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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23 Union University RANKING SCORE 57.54 COST LOCATION Jackson, TN

Founded in 1823, Union University offers programs in the Christian tradition from its main campus in Jackson, Tennessee. The university's online MBA in human resources builds on a biblical worldview and offers personalized attention thanks to a low student-faculty ratio.

Union’s MBA online degree encompasses both a thesis option and a non-thesis track. Students can select from multiple entry dates. The program delivers courses asynchronously in eight-week sessions. Courses include ethical management, and strategic negotiation and conflict resolution. Students can complete the program in 18-24 months. Union allows students to transfer up to nine credits of related courses.

Union University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Business programs receive additional accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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24 University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh RANKING SCORE 57.32 COST LOCATION Oshkosh, WI

Part of the University of Wisconsin system—one of the largest in the nation—the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh offers an online MBA in human resources management. Designed for working professionals, applicants must complete at least two years of work experience for admittance into the program.

Students applying to the 45-credit program with at least 10 years of professional experience can waive the GMAT/GRE requirement. Students can complete the online MBA degree in as little as two years, or as many as seven years. Requirements include strategic context of organizations, and a capstone analysis project.

The University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh receives regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The business school also receives additional accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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25 Mount Vernon Nazarene University RANKING SCORE 56.52 COST LOCATION Mount Vernon, OH

A private Christian university founded in 1968 in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU offers its students the benefit of a favorably low student-teacher ratio in all business programs. The university's online MBA in human resource management emphasizes accessibility for students seeking an online MBA with no GMAT requirement.

The flexible 36-credit program includes nine credits in the human resource management concentration. Students can complete the program in just under 24 months by taking just one course at a time. Courses include global business, organizational behavior, and strategic programming in human resource management. MVNU requires a minimum 2.8 GPA for admittance into the program. Students with previous experience can transfer up to six credits with a grade of B or higher.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University receives regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The business school also receives accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

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How Long Is an Online MBA in Human Resources Program?
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs
$25,000 to $50,000
Concentrations
Management, Project Management, Recruiting and Staffing, Compensation and Benefits, Training, Organizational Development, Employment Law, and Office Administration
Accreditation
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Additional Considerations
Many MBA programs require candidates to sit for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and some require a minimum score. However, not all MBA programs require a GMAT score for admission.

Job Placement: MBA in Human Resources

Due to widespread implementation of HR departments in both the private and public sector, the human resources industry is quite large The BLS notes that roughly 482,000 human resources specialists and 122,500 human resources managers are currently employed in the U.S.; these two careers alone are expected to increase by more than 32,000 positions between 2014 and 2024. Related occupations, such as training and development managers and compensation and benefits managers, are also expected to experience strong growth over the next eight to 10 years.

How do HR jobs stack up against other MBA-oriented fields in terms of job placement? The following table features the unemployment rates for HR specialists and eight other administration occupations. All nine professions listed on the table were included on the ‘Best Business Jobs‘ list published by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2016)
Medical and Health Services Manager 1.7%
Market Research Analyst 2.4%
Financial Manager 2.6%
Management Analyst 3.0%
Human Resources Specialist 3.1%
Accountant 3.2%
Business Operations Manager 3.7%
Operations Research Analyst 3.8%
Executive Assistant 3.9%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

As the table indicates, HR specialists enjoy relatively stable job placement rates within the corporate sector. The unemployment rate for HR professionals is also low compared to the national unemployment rate for all industries, which currently sits at 4.6%.

Earning a Living

In addition to more favorable job placement rates, graduates with an online MBA in HR also enjoy high earning potential. However, salary expectations will depend on an HR employee’s specific degree field of MBA study. The table below features entry-level earnings expectations for students with master’s degrees in two MBA HR fields.

Degree/Professional Field Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
MBA in Human Resources Management $49,600 $81,100
MBA in Human Resources $48,400 $79,200

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table indicates, students who earn an MBA in HR management earned slightly higher salaries at both benchmarks than those with an MBA in HR. However, both degree-holders reported nearly identical salary growth after 10 years in the workforce; employees with an MBA in HR saw their earnings rise 63.6% after 10 years, while employees with an MBA in HR management experienced 63.5% growth.

In addition to MBA field of study, specific professional titles also impact one’s salary outlook. The next table looks at the salary growth and projections for four of the most popular HR career pathways.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (>20 Years)
Human Resources Specialist $43,558 $48,823 $50,903 $55,163
Human Resources Generalist $47,148 $51,917 $53,484 $54,965
Human Resources Manager $51,565 $62,068 $67,345 $69,268
Training Manager $53,982 $64,234 $75,333 $80,855

Source: PayScale

Of the four occupations listed, training managers experienced the highest rate of career salary growth: a 49.8% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Human resources managers placed second with a 34.3% earnings increase after 20 years in the workforce.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with an MBA in human resources will be qualified for dozens of top-level positions, although their individual eligibility will depend on additional factors such as company size and their city/state of employment. Four of the most common careers in HR are outlined below.

Compensation and Benefits Managers: These managers coordinate payment, retirement, health insurance and other compensation and benefit programs at their company or organization. They often assist employees with questions and concerns that arise, and may also work with executives to monitor and evaluate the salaries and benefits packages of different personnel.

Human Resources Specialists: HR specialists recruit, evaluate and hire employees. Their day-to-day duties include posting job vacancies, screening applicants, and conducting interviews and background checks. HR specialists usually work under HR managers.

Human Resources Managers: HR managers oversee the human resources departments at their company or organization; they also manage HR specialists, compensation and benefits coordinators and other personnel. HR managers often meet with top executives and leaders to create recruiting and staffing programs, and they may also meet with employees and managers to settle conflicts and workplace disputes.

Training and Development Managers: These managers are responsible for employee orientation, training and professional development. They play a direct role in the development, coordination and evaluation of different programs that increase productivity, build employee skills and create a more efficient work environment.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Compensation and Benefits Managers $111,430 6% (+1,100 jobs)
Human Resources Specialists $58,350 5% (+22,000 jobs)
Human Resources Managers $104,440 9% (+10,800 jobs)
Training and Development Managers $102,640 7% (+2,300 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to human resources is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for HR professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • Society for Human Resource Management: Considered the world’s largest HR-oriented professional organization, the SHRM boasts 285,000 members in 165 different countries. The website features a vast online resource library, as well as links to continuing education opportunities and an events calendar.
  • National Human Resources Association: Founded in 1951, the NHRA seeks to assist aspiring HR employees through networking events, job training and continuing education. Individual, corporate and student memberships are all available.
  • Academy of Human Resources Development: This international organization seeks to address problems and issues in HR using academic research. AHRD’s monthly online journal, AHRD Digest, features a publication archive that dates back to 2006.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Rankings Archive

Best Online MBA in Human Resources Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
2 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
3 Brandman University Irvine, CA
4 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
5 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
6 Concordia University-Wisconsin Mequon, WI
7 Southern Adventist University Collegedale, TN
8 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg, MA
9 University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, KS
10 University of North Texas Denton, TX
11 Belhaven University Jackson, MS
12 Ottawa University-Online Ottawa, KS
13 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
14 Brenau University Gainesville, GA
15 National University La Jolla, CA
16 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
17 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
18 Franklin Pierce University Rindge, NH
19 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
20 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL